Where to Stay in Paris: Best Areas and Hotels
Paris spreads over a large area, but the highest concentration of top tourist attractions lie along the Seine, between Place des Vosges and the Grand Palais. To the west are the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Of course there are plenty of other things to do. You won't want to miss the atmospheric neighborhood of Montmartre, topped by the white domes of Sacré-Cœur, nor the lively streets of the Rive Gauche, Paris's famed Left Bank. Chances are, you'll want to divide your time in The City of Light between seeing the best-known sights and kicking back to soak up the atmosphere of its charming neighborhoods. You can easily choose a place to stay that is convenient for both.
A number of hotels in all styles and price ranges are close to the river, either on the left or right bank, where the sights are concentrated. From these, you can easily reach any other attraction on the efficient Metro system. Or you can choose a hotel in cozy Montmartre and take the Metro to a central stop for the riverside attractions. Like the Left Bank, the Marais is a good choice, with a neighborhood feel and distinct character of its own, but within a short walk of the Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, and Notre Dame. Whatever your budget and whether you're planning a romantic escape for two or a Paris adventure for the whole family, this guide will help you find just the right place to stay.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing
With so many top attractions within an easy walk, the most central hotels for sightseeing lie close to the river on either bank. Right at the Musee d'Orsay and just across the bridge from the Tuileries Gardens and Place de la Concorde, Hotel d'Orsay - Esprit de France is also within walking distance of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. As a bonus, it lies in the heart of the Rive Gauche - the colorful, cafe-lined streets of the Left Bank. On the Left Bank, near Boulevard Saint Germain and within easy walking distance of Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Cluny Museum, and the Luxembourg Gardens, the charming Hotel Residence Henri 4 has rooms with kitchenettes, and balconies overlooking an atmospheric little street.
Across the river on the Right Bank, beside Tuileries Gardens and only a few steps from the Louvre, the boutique Hotel La Tamise is also small, with superb personal service. At the Place Vendome, near Place Concorde, Tuileries Gardens, the Musée de l'Orangerie, and Louvre, the Ritz Paris reopened in 2016 after four years of painstaking restoration. Along with the glamour and luxury you'd expect from a Ritz property, this one has a large pool and spa.
Where to Stay for Luxury
Luxury hotels can be found in several neighborhoods, but by far the most prestigious addresses are in the 8th Arrondissement, on the Right Bank between the Petit Palais and the Arc de Triomphe. The streets here don't ring with Parisian character, but they are the epitome of Paris style. Decorated with original fashion drawings by Christian Dior, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée is convenient to the studios and showrooms of the haute-couture designers, and its level of luxury reflects its location, next to the Champs-Élysées. To stay in positively palatial surroundings furnished with antiques and fine art, choose La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa. Always rated one of the top hotels in Paris, it is known for its boutique-hotel level of personalized service; it's a short stroll through gardens from the Champs-Élysées. Also in the fashionable 8th Arrondissement, legendary Le Bristol Paris delights its high-end clientele with flawless service, a spa, and a rooftop pool.
The Left Bank has its own luxuries, in the heart of a neighborhood that says "Paris" at every turn. For personal service in boutique - but luxurious - surroundings, the beautiful little Hotel Relais Saint-Germain guarantees guests preferential table bookings for dinner at Le Comptoir. It's located conveniently off Boulevard Saint-Germain at l'Odeon. In the same neighborhood, the stylish Hotel d'Aubusson has the feel of a country estate, with guests enjoying hot chocolate in front of the fireplace in the tapestry-hung Grand Salon. The café has live jazz performances, and the hotel is close to art galleries, antiques shops, and restaurants.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
Paris is surprisingly well supplied with hotels priced in the middle range but with services, luxuries, or locations you'd expect from more costly hotels. The Marais is not a place you'd be likely to look for bargains. Not only is it one of the most chic neighborhoods - and one that's hot right now - but it is within a few blocks of some of the most popular attractions, including the Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, and Notre Dame. Cafés, bistros, and boutiques abound in its characterful streets, and at its heart is Place des Vosges, perhaps the most beautiful square in the entire city. But two minutes from Place des Vosges and even closer to the popular shops of Rue des Francs Bourgeois, you'll find Les Tournelles, with attractive well-decorated rooms, a hospitable staff, and budget prices.
Probably the best place to look for good value, especially in terms of location and charm, is on the Rive Gauche, in Paris's famed Latin Quarter. Most hotels here are small and often family owned, such as the boutique Hotel Signature St. Germain des Pres, where rooms are individually decorated, and hosts are personally engaged in making guests feel welcome. The Left Bank Saint Germain is small, elegant, and individually owned. Only a five-minute walk from Luxembourg Gardens, at the other end of Boulevard Saint-Germain, the boutique Odeon Hotel is quiet, despite the neighborhood's busy street life, and is close to the Metro.
Good value also awaits those who don't mind the sometimes steep streets of Montmartre, and those lofty rooms also offer some of the city's best views. At the modern Terrass" Hotel by MH, rooms on the upper floors have balconies with sweeping views, and the hotel also has a rooftop terrace.
Where to Stay on a Budget
By their nature, budget hotels don't tend to be in the most central locations close to major tourist attractions. But travelers in Paris are fortunate to have an efficient and convenient Metro system to take them quickly and inexpensively to almost any place in the city. So you can still be convenient to the sights as long as your hotel is near a Metro stop. This makes Montmartre an especially good location for budget travelers, for although it's not the most central place to stay, it is undeniably one of Paris's most atmospheric neighborhoods. Close to the Blanche Metro stop, the economical Hotel Basss by HappyCulture is also only a short walk from Sacré-Cœur and the cafés and restaurants on rue des Abbesses. Another good budget choice in Montmartre is Le Relais Montmartre, which is also located very close to the Metro.
While it may be hard to find a really budget choice in the heart of the Latin Quarter, you only need to go a few blocks toward the Montparnasse neighborhood to find them. On this side, quite near Luxembourg Gardens, the excellent location of Legend Hotel by Elegancia makes up for its small rooms. In the same neighborhood, for rooms overlooking a courtyard or a traditional Parisian street scene, try the family-run Hotel Diana. On a quiet street in another part of the Rive Gauche, a block from the Cluny Museum, Hotel Marignan includes free breakfast and has laundry facilities. Almost next door is Hotel du College de France, where some rooms have balconies large enough to sit on.
Where to Stay for Couples
As the old song says, Paris loves lovers, and there's no better place for a romantic getaway. So you'll want to stay in a neighborhood with authentic Parisian charm. With its leafy squares, artists, and steeply descending stone-paved lanes, Montmartre might be the most atmospheric quarter in Paris. But this hilltop neighborhood doesn't hold the monopoly on charm. The quiet streets of Montparnasse have their share, and for glimpses of authentic old Paris, the Rive Gauche still attracts with its lively student vibe. Gentrification and tourism may have taken some of the edges off, but you'll still find the heart-tugging traditional Paris, especially if you leave the main streets of these neighborhoods.
There's no need to compromise on prime location, as some of the most luxurious, romantic hotels are close to the main attractions. Just across the Seine from the Louvre, Hotel Da Vinci & Spa is set between Boulevard Saint-Germain and the river, only a 10-minute walk from the Musee d'Orsay and its French Impressionist collections. Along with beautifully appointed rooms and impeccable service, the Da Vinci has a spa and soaking pool. Also between Boulevard Saint-Germain and the river, opposite the Ile de Cite, the generously sized rooms at Relais Christine overlook a courtyard filled with flowers. Parking is included with the room.
Balconies at the charming Hotel Residence Henri 4, on the Left Bank, overlook an atmospheric side street. Rooms there have kitchenettes, in case you're feeling domestic. On the other side of the city, the very romantic boutique hotel Montmartre Mon Amour serves guests complimentary afternoon tea. Nearly every sumptuous room in the luxury Shangri-La Hotel Paris, close to the Seine in the Trocadero quarter, has a view of the Eiffel Tower from its large windows; the hotel also has a pool.
Where to Stay for Families
Except in the luxury properties, hotel rooms in Paris are notoriously small, so finding one with extra beds or even room to add a roll-away bed is difficult, but not impossible. It is also worth asking for connecting rooms as an alternative, although these, too, are not common in smaller hotels. Two choices near the Eiffel Tower offer family options. Hotel de Londres Eiffel, in a quiet neighborhood with plenty of low-key restaurants and a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, has connecting rooms and a helpful staff. Le Derby Alma has a family suite on the sixth floor, with a good view of the nearby Eiffel Tower. It's a five-minute walk from the Pont D'Alma metro stop, with direct connections to Notre Dame and Chateau Versailles. Some of the rooms at the Art Deco Grand Hotel des Balcons, between Boulevard Saint-Germain and Luxembourg Gardens, are large enough for families.
Where to Stay Near the Eiffel Tower
It may not be close to many of the main attractions, but there's no denying the appeal of a hotel close to the most iconic of Paris landmarks, especially if you can catch a view of it from your window. The Hotel Kleber Champs-Elysees Tour Eiffel Paris, just across the river in Trocadero, has some rooms with balconies and Jacuzzi tubs. The Metro station is a three-minute walk from the hotel. Also moderately priced, the Melia Royal Alma is a small boutique-style hotel halfway between the Eiffel Tower and Musee l'Orangerie, not far from the Champs-Élysées. It's also handy for browsing in the designer shops along Rue Montaigne. The budget-priced Hotel de la Paix Tour Eiffel is in a typically Parisian neighborhood of cafés and restaurants, less than five minutes' walk from the Eiffel Tower and with views of it from many rooms. Hotel Le Walt is a few steps from the Champ de Mars, not far from the Musee Rodin, and near the restaurants and shops of the pedestrianized Rue Cler.
Where to Stay for Shopping
While the haute mode designer showrooms and fashion houses may come to mind first, there is much more to shopping in Paris. The most famous of the designer studios are along Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées, but you'll find plenty of hip designer boutiques in the Marais and more fashions in the St.-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. The undisputed queen of Paris department stores is Galeries Lafayette, in the 9th Arrondissement, and around it, you'll find an abundance of shops along Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards.
The Banke Hotel is a luxury property in a classic Parisian building close to the Boulevard Haussmann and handy to the Galeries Lafayette and other major stores. The building is a former bank, and although its lobby is modern, it reflects the aura of the grand banking halls.
Across the river on the Left Bank, Boulevard Saint Germain runs roughly parallel with the Seine, and along it and the surrounding streets are shops of all sorts, from tiny boutiques to department stores. It has something for all tastes and budgets, and shopping is a way of life here. Just off Boulevard Saint-Germain, not far from the Musee d'Orsay, the family-run Hotel Pas de Calais welcomes shoppers back to individually decorated rooms and a glass-covered courtyard filled with flowers. A few steps off the popular shopping street Rue des Francs Bourgeois and handy to the designer boutiques that make the Marais a must for fashion mavens, Le Pavillon de la Reine is also set around a courtyard, where guests relax after a day's shopping. Rooms are as chic as the surrounding boutiques.